a breakfast serial

One bite-sized story every morning to uplift, motivate, or provoke thought.

Chip Off the Ol’ Block

< by Brennan >

Nicknames are a funny thing. They can range from endearing (I call my dad Paps, and he loves it; he calls me Brenster, which is short for Brenster Fenster Mighty Minster on the right night), to a bit critical (my second grade teacher called me coconut head the whole year).

There is a lot of power in a nickname, in that it can become your identity more than your own name. Sometimes you can control what your nickname is, other times you can’t. Thankfully, I am not called coconut head anymore. I guess I grew into it.

This is a story about a nickname that took on a life of its own long, long ago, and has stuck with the person throughout her whole life. My mom, Chippy Lowery.

As you can guess, her name actually isn’t Chippy. Her real name is Diane, but nobody has ever really been able to tell that. She goes by Chippy, and has done so her whole life, or at least as long as she can remember.

I thought all along that it had to do with a time that she fell in high school and actually chipped her tooth; that would make sense, after all. But, per usual with nicknames, the story goes even further than that, and has less of a logical connection drawn to it.

According to my mom, when she was 3 the neighbors came to play outside. They asked my grandmother, who also sported a killer nickname of Mimi, if Diane could come out with them.

Mimi said sure, since my aunt Gayle was there to watch over her. According to my mom, Gayle has no nickname because she was Miss Perfect.

With that, all of the children ran off, calling to my mom to follow them. They all yelled, “Come on, Chippy, let’s go!”

Now, to this day, no one is quite sure where it actually comes from. Mimi never really understood it or why it started. Miss Perfect isn’t sure either. My mom has asked around, and imagines it had to do with her chubby chipmunk cheeks and teeth.

To this day, my mom knows that when she answers the phone and the other person asks for a Diane Lowery, they are no friend of hers.

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